“A marine only dies when he is forgotten.” It’s a quote that Jefferson resident John Wroblewski repeats often, and he hopes it never applies to his son, Marine Coprs 2nd Lt. John Thomas Wroblewski, who died on April, 6, 2004 while serving in Iraq.
On Sunday, for the eighth year in a row, a 5K was run in honor of the fallen marine, and once again, his parents, John and Shawn, andIMG_4092 his siblings were on hand to thank all those involved in the event.
Hosted by the Junior Women’s Club of Jefferson Township, the 5K has been run for 14 years. After Wroblewski was killed, the club decided to make it a memorial to him. Each year, the money raised is allocated to a specific local charity. This year, the Jefferson Township Challenger League will receive the funds. Challenger is a “program that enables mentally and physically-challenged youth to enjoy the full benefits of participation in an athletic environment structured to their abilities.”
“It’s an honor for this to take place every year,” said Wroblewski. “As parents, our hope is that he will be remembered—we come to something like this, with the flags and the people—it’s just great. They make sure that he’s not forgotten.”
About 250 runners participated in the certified 5K, including Matt Lembright, a soldier from Arlington, VA, who ran the entire 3.1 miles carrying a large American flag. This was not lost on Wroblewski who publicly thanked Lembright, first for service and then for “honoring my son. You touched my heart. I will never forget that.”
Two seventeen year-olds from Palisade Park High School topped the finishers list. Jorge Maldonado was the first male to cross the finish line and Juliana Lee, the first female to cross the finish line. To see a full list of finishers and their times, go to

The Jefferson Fire Department hangs a large flag across Weldon Road.


Shawn Wroblewski, right, fires the starting gun.


Spectators cheering on the runners.


Winner, Jorge Maldonado.


Runners sprint to the finish line.


Juliana Lee and Cassandra Lacorazza, center, head for the finish.


Runners sprint to the finish.


Runners sprint to the finish.


Matt Lembright ran the entire race carrying the American flag.


Laurie Studley and her dog, Narley, head to the finish line.

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